It’s not often that a player who joins an NFL team in June ends up being a key piece of the puzzle, but veteran tight end Kellen Winslow could break that mold after officially inking a one-year deal with the New York Jets.
Winslow, who turns 30 in July, attended Jets mini-camp this week on a tryout basis. He evidently did enough in practice under the watchful eyes of general manager John Idzik and the Jets coaching staff to earn himself a job.
A former first-round pick in 2004, Winslow made a Pro Bowl with the Cleveland Browns before a three-year stint with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. He bounced around the league and did not play much at all in 2012.
Now, rededicated and refocused, Winslow is hungry and looking to prove himself, and that fits the bill for players that Idzik has prioritized in free agency. Having Winslow in camp is a low-risk move that makes the Jets better.
Unable to find a tight end fit in the draft, the Jets were set to enter training camp with Jeff Cumberland and Hayden Smith atop the tight end depth chart, two guys who have 33 catches combined in their NFL careers.
Adding Winslow will at the very least push Cumberland and Smith even harder, especially since Winslow is a great fit for Marty Mornhinweg‘s offensive system that likes to send the tight end deep down the seam.
While injuries have slowed him down at times in his career, Kellen Winslow is eager to prove that he’s still got a lot left in the tank. With the Jets’ tight end depth, or lack thereof, he should get an ample opportunity to prove it.